SCOTTSBORO, Ala. - As families flee the incoming Hurricane Florence, some are making their way West to the Tennessee Valley.
Alora and Jordan Whitehead drove into Scottsboro overnight Wednesday, along with their dog, Saban. They are staying at Alora's parents' house.
"I'm active duty in the United States Marine Corps, and my wife goes to school in Wilmington," Jordan said. "We already knew, as soon as we were allowed to evacuate, we would come straight home."
"It was really nice," Alora said about having a safe place to go. "We actually have friends that came with us. They're from Texas. They didn't really have anywhere else to go. So they're here with us-- they're staying at my parents' house also. That was just a good feeling to know we could bring them here and they could be safe too."
The Whiteheads grew up in Scottsboro and moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina last November. They live on Camp Lejeune. But they've been watching the weather as the storm barrels toward the United States.
"It started to get closer, started to get more serious," Alora said. "Once they started evacuating campus, that's when I was like, 'Alright. I'm ready to get out of here.'"
This is their first hurricane since moving to the East Coast. The couple says they did what they could to prepare their home before they evacuated, but they can't be sure what will happen before they're able to return.
"I literally took all decorations, everything, moved to the second floor just in case it does flood," Alora said.
As they wait to see what Florence will bring, they are thinking of their home and that of their friends.
"It's really nerve-wracking not knowing whether we're going to be back home and the house is going to be there, or it's going to be flooded. Or friends and-- just, you don't know until it's over with," Jordan explained.
Wednesday was Alora's twenty-first birthday. While it isn't what they planned, both say it was an unexpected blessing in a way.
"I get to be home with my family," she said.
Jordan said his brother is a lineman, and Thursday he will be heading toward the area from which they just evacuated. He will be on their minds in the coming days.